Premier Alden McLaughlin continues to hold his cards close to the chest regarding details of government’s $1.7 million programme designed to put unemployed Caymanians back to work.
At today’s Fidelity CEO conference, he said the upskilling programme, called Ready to Work KY, will help ensure equal economic opportunity.
“I didn’t just pull the Ready to Work KY thing out of my back pocket, it’s something we’ve been working on for quite a number of months,” Mr. McLaughin told Cayman 27 shortly after his remarks Tuesday (19 January).
He used his time at the podium to address an issue he’s called his administration’s achilles heel: unemployment.
He said though national statistics have shown a drop in Caymanian unemployment since 2013, the numbers are no consolation to the many who are out of work.
“I don’t think enough people are aware of how many Caymanians have to struggle just to make ends meet. As I said, there’s abject poverty, and those numbers are relatively small. But a wide cross section of the caymanian community struggle to make ends meet each month,” said Mr. McLaughlin.
He said in today’s economy it’s unacceptable for Caymanians who are able and willing to work to be unemployed. He told Cayman 27 the Ready to Work KY programme can help give these people a boost into the workforce.
“This is about upskilling individuals and hopefully getting them ready to take on full time employment, whatever their shortcomings are, whatever the gaps are in their skill sets, including the soft skills that many of them lack,” he said.
Details on how the programme will work are vague for now, but government said it will pay wages and benefits for Caymanians for a six month period during the upskilling process.
“Businesses have responded very very positively with respect to this and their willingness to participate, and I am absolutely confident that we will make a good go at this,” said Mr. McLaughlin.
Mr. McLaughlin called Ready to Work KY an example of finding solutions through a public/private partnerships.
The premier promised more details to emerge shortly. Cayman 27 expects a press conference in the near future, possibly next week. Ready to Work KY kicks off on February 1st, and will have enough funding to take more than 200 Caymanians through the programme.